This is the third year I’ve named an all-prospect team, and if you’ve ever read any of our prospect coverage, you’ll recognize a lot of these names. But, there are a few that will have you clicking their Baseball Reference link because you didn’t know they existed.
To be eligible for this list, a player must have been prospect-eligible for the 2014 season, and since the Dodgers haven’t lost any prospects due to service- or playing time, everyone in the farm system is eligible. Ages are the age-season of the player, not their actual age.
This team is based on 2014 performance and not necessarily a reflection of where they rank within the system. Age and competition level is also taken into account.
Catcher: Julian Leon, 18, Rookie-Ogden
.332/.420/.565, 12 HR, 57 RBI, 14 2B, 11.7% BB rate
– Leon was one of the youngest players in on the Raptors, but that didn’t stop him from being the team’s best hitter. The catcher signed out of Mexico in 2012 posted some amazing numbers in an admittedly hitter-friendly environment. But, there is reason to be optimistic said numbers just weren’t a product of the environment. He’s young, hit for power and walked at an above-average rate. He also threw out 30 percent of attempted base stealers, which is around average. That should hopefully improve going forward.
Second team: Chris O’Brien ,24, Double-A Chattanooga
First base: Cody Bellinger, 18, Rookie-Ogden/AZL Dodgers
.312/.352/.474, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 6 3B, 6.4% BB rate
– Bellinger is one of my favorite prospects in the system, and his season started a little bit inauspiciously. In his second game, he suffered a separated shoulder that shelved him for 23 days. After a a brief — and unsuccessful — rehab stint with the AZL Dodgers, he went back to Ogden and caught fire. He hit .429/.500/.667 in his first 10 games back, and finished with an .870 OPS in the Pioneer League. His defense is already MLB-ready, so it’s just a matter if the kid develops his power stroke. If not, he could be a Mark Grace-type (sans the DUI and jail time, hopefully) down the road. Perhaps a more apt comparison would be former Dodger James Loney.
Second team: Justin Chigbogu, 19, Low-A Great Lakes/Rookie-Ogden
Second base: Darnell Sweeney, 23, Double-A Chattanooga
.288/.387/.463, 14 HR, 57 RBI, 34 2B, 13.1% BB rate
– Sweeney was in this position after a decent-not-great season with Rancho Cucamonga, but this season was different. Sweeney improved markedly at the plate, and the thing that stands out most is his walk rate. He walked 8.2 percent of the time coming into the 2014 season. He improved that be nearly 5 percent. Another way of looking at it: he walked 76 times in his first two professional seasons. This season, he walked 77 times. He also continued to hit for some pop. His stolen base numbers took a big hit and is no longer considered even decent in that department. The Dodgers also dabbled with Sweeney in center field as to increase his utility. But a second baseman with some pop and a good eye could be a valuable player going forward.
Second team: Alex Guerrero, Los Angeles/Triple-A Albuquerque
Third base: Paul Hoenecke, 23, Low-A Great Lakes
.247/.315/.425, 15 HR, 61 RBI, 37 2B, 8.7% BB rate
– This should tell you how barren third base is in the Dodgers’ organization. Yes, a certain shortstop will probably end up moving there, but the fact Hoenecke is the best the Dodgers had to offer really says something. He had a decent season in the Midwest League — a league that suppresses offense. But, he was repeating the level (.230/.298/.336 last year) and isn’t exactly Brooks Robinson with the glove. He’s virtually a non-prospect with a ceiling of a 24th- or 25th man off the bench. One thing that plays into his favor is he’s left-handed. That’s about it.
Second team: Michael Ahmed, 22, Rookie-Ogden
Shortstop: Corey Seager, 20, High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga
.349/.402/.602, 20 HR, 97 RBI, 50 2B, 7.6% BB rate
– As if it’d be anyone else. Seager, my Dodgers’ Minor League Player of the Year, had a remarkable season that culminated with a playoff appearance in the Southern League. He was the first Dodger prospect to hit 50 doubles in a season since Delwyn Young, and some of those doubles will turn into home runs (some already did, as he hit 20 and has one in the SL playoffs so far). His California League performance won him the MVP. His walk rate dropped a bit, but that’ll happen when you hit .349 over the course of a season. His defensive limitations are apparent, as Chad has noted in his minor-league updates. The move to third base could be coming as soon as next season, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Second team: Ivan Vela, 21, Rookie-Ogden
Left field: Scott Schebler, 23, Double-A Chattanooga
.280/.365/.556, 28 HR, 73 RBI, 14 3B, 8.0% BB rate
– Schebler followed up his Branch Rickey award-winning season in Rancho with an even better one in Chattanooga. He continued to pile up the extra base hits, as his 28 home runs (thanks to Kris Bryant‘s promotion), 14 triples and 272 total bases led the Southern League. He also got hit by a pitch a league-leading 22 times. He could be a left-handed Scott Van Slyke-type in the future with an outside chance to be an everyday left fielder for a second-division team. He’ll join teammates Seager and Sweeney in the Arizona Fall League.
Second team: Devan Ahart, 21, Rookie-Ogden/Low-A Great Lakes
Center field: Joc Pederson, 22, Triple-A Albuquerque/Los Angeles
.303/.435/.582, 33 HR, 78 RBI, 30 SB, 18.0% BB rate
– Like Seager, who else was this going to be? Pederson had an historic season for the Isotopes and earned a September call-up by the Dodgers. He was the first 30-30 player in the Pacific Coast League in 80 years, the first in the system since Chin-Feng Chen (1999, Cal League) and the PCL MVP. Aided by one of the best hitting environments in the world, Pederson also showed a great eye, walking a league-best 100 times and at a ridiculous 18 percent rate. Because of that, his 26.9 percent strikeout rate isn’t nearly as alarming as it could be. He plays a good enough center field to be an everyday guy for a first-division team.
Second team: Alex Verdugo, 18, AZL Dodgers/Rookie-Ogden
Right field: Joey Curletta, 20, Low-A Great Lakes
.277/.333/.380, 7 HR, 68 RBI, 30 2B, 7.2% BB rate
– I expected better from Curletta this season, but he had some positives in his first taste of full-season ball. The power was absent, but he did hit 30 doubles. His walk rate decreased from his performance in Ogden in 2013, but it didn’t fall below 7 percent. He was named a mid- and postseason all-star for the league and he’s a big kid. I’m guessing the Cal League will be much more friendly for him, as it’s hard to hit in the Midwest League. He’ll need to dominate next year to establish himself as a legitimate prospect in the system.
Second team: Jeremy Rathjen, 24, High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Starting pitcher 1: Julio Urias, 17, High-A Rancho Cucamonga
2-2, 2.36 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 1.11 WHIP, 3.8 BB/9, 11.2 K/9
– While he didn’t win my pitcher of the year honor, he could very well win it from the Dodgers. The teenager, despite a rough start marred by rehabbing veteran pitchers, was thoroughly dominant against hits 5-6 years his senior. He isn’t as wild as his 3.8 walks per nine innings rate would lead you to believe, and his stuff is unmatched in the system — as is his maturity and poise. He passed the rough Cal League test with flying colors and will look to continue his rapid rise in the system.
SP 6: Grant Holmes, 18, AZL Dodgers/Rookie-Ogden
Starting pitcher 2: Jharel Cotton, 22, High-A Rancho Cucamonga
6-10, 4.05 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 1.16 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 9.8 K/9
– Cotton was my MiLB pitcher of the year and didn’t even struggle as much as Urias did early in the season. After finding his way, he looked down right dominant at times and has established himself as a legitimate prospect. He’ll need to develop his breaking pitches further if he wishes to remain in the rotation, but he has a good fastball-changeup combination that will play at the next level.
SP 7: Chris Anderson, 21, High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Starting pitcher 3: Jose De Leon, 22, Rookie-Ogden/Low-A Great Lakes
7-0, 2.22 ERA, 2.95 FIP (Ogden)/0.62 FIP (GL), 2.5 BB/9, 13.9 K/9
– De Leon kind of came out of nowhere as a 2013 24th-round draft pick to post some absurd numbers. He won the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year award and lead the league in the following categories (minimum 50 IP): ERA (2.65), WHIP (1.16), K/9 (12.8), H/9 (7.3) and HR/9 (0.3). In just 22 1/3 innings in Great Lakes, he was even better: 1.19 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 5.6 H/9, 0.8 BB/9 and a 16.7 (!) K/9. De Leon is a prospect to keep an eye on, as he has the repertoire to start and the ability to miss bats at an extremely high rate.
SP 8: Chris Reed, 24, Double-A Chattanooga/Triple-A Albuquerque
Starting pitcher 4: Jonathan Martinez, 20, Low-A Great Lakes
7-5, 3.47 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9, 7.7 K/9
– Martinez was on his way to having a really good age-20 season in the Dodgers’ system, but then they traded him to the Cubs to acquire Darwin Barney. That doesn’t exclude him from this list, as he has some upside as such a young pitcher. And he throws strikes. The Cubbies did really well in the deal and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him — one day — don the Chicago pinstripes in some fashion.
SP 9: Tom Windle, 22, High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Starting pitcher 5: Scott Barlow, 21, Low-A Great Lakes
6-7, 4.50 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 1.40 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, 8.8 K/9
– Barlow’s results aren’t what matter most (even though they weren’t too bad), it’s the fact he pitched an entire season. He underwent Tommy John surgery after his first professional season and was working his way back. He threw 106 innings this season and is definitely a sleeper within the organization. He has good stuff and can miss bats. Rancho will be a challenge for him, but he’s young enough that he still has some upside. The results have to come now that he’s completed a year in full-season ball.
SP 10: Jairo Pacheco, 17, AZL Dodgers/Rookie-Ogden
Relief pitcher 1: Yimi Garcia, 23, Triple-A Albuquerque/Los Angeles
5 SV, 3.10 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 1.24 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 10.2 K/9
– Garcia was the best reliever in the system last year, too. He performed quite well in a hostile environment for pitchers and earned a September call-up to the Dodgers. He has never had worse than a 10.2 K/9 since leaving complex ball in his pro career, thanks to his fastball-slider combination that has a chance to play late in games at the Major League level. Barring anything unforeseen, he should be a fixture in the Dodgers’ bullpen for years to come.
RP 6: Michael Johnson, 23, Low-A Great Lakes
Relief pitcher 2: Daniel Coulombe, 24, High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga
6 SV, 2.89 ERA, 3.09 FIP (RC)/ 2.57 FIP (CHA), 1.19 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9, 12.7 K/9
– Coulmbe is a lefty who doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he finds ways to strike hitters out. He performed well in Rancho and earned a promotion to Chattanooga, where he pitched equally well. I could see him being the next lefty reliever to come up through the system and doing well. J.P. Howell or Paco Rodriguez‘s jobs aren’t in danger, but Coulombe could be an up-and-down guy before finally getting established in the ‘pen.
RP 7: Matt Campbell, 22, Low-A Great Lakes
Relief pitcher 3: Jacob Rhame, 21, Low-A Great Lakes
9 SV, 2.00 ERA, 2.01 FIP, 0.92 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, 12.0 K/9
– Rhame was the Dodgers’ sixth-round pick in 2013, and he put himself on the prospect map with a nice performance in Great Lakes. He had a 6-to-1 K/BB ratio and took over as the Loons’ closer after Mark Pope got injured. He’s a power arm in the system, and the Dodgers are no strangers to developing those types of pitchers.
RP 8: Jose Dominguez, 23, Los Angeles/Triple-A Albuquerque
Relief pitcher 4: Victor Araujo, 21, Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga
6 SV, 1.73 ERA, 2.57 FIP (GL)/5.94 FIP (RC), 0.84 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, 9.6 K/9
– Araujo was dominant for most of the season in Great Lakes before a late-season promotion to Rancho. He isn’t an overpowering pitcher and uses his command to get outs and miss bats. He’s a smallish guy who needs to show his dominance in Low-A wasn’t just due to the level of competition.
RP 9: Kyle Hooper, 23, Low-A Great Lakes
Relief pitcher 5: Ralston Cash, 22, Low-A Great Lakes/Double-A Chattanooga
1 SV, 2.90 ERA, 2.72 FIP (GL)/3.31 FIP (CHA), 1.12 WHIP, 4.3 BB/9, 11.0 K/9
– Much like Barlow, it was just nice to see Cash make it through an entire season unscathed. A former second-rounder and starting pitching prospect, Cash has permanently moved to the bullpen with really good results. He’s always had the ability to miss bats, and his stuff should play up out of the bullpen. He’s a sleeper to jump big time during next season. He could be a Chris Withrow-type of guy, if he can figure out his control and command.
RP 10: Blake Smith, 26, High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga